African swine fever kills pigs in Indonesia

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Hundreds of pigs have reportedly died from African swine fever in Bali, Indonesia.

Authorities disclosed this on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

This is, however, marking the Indonesian holiday island’s first recorded outbreak and this comes after the virus claimed some 30,000 hogs in Sumatra.

According to Bali’s agriculture and food security agency chief, Ida Bagus Wisnuardhana, nearly 900 pigs succumbed to swine fever since mid-December.

While referring to tests performed on the dead animals, he noted that the results are positive for African swine fever and stressed that the string of deaths had appeared to stop over the past week.

Wisnuardhana, however, added that Bali would go ahead with a pork festival on Friday in a bid to ease concerns over the outbreak.

This announcement is coming after Indonesia this week revealed that it would temporarily ban some livestock imports from China over fears about the coronavirus, which has killed almost 500 people in China, where it originated.

It would be recalled that in December, Indonesian officials said tens of thousands of pigs died from African swine fever in North Sumatra province.

While Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation — and eating pork is forbidden by the Koran — the country also boasts a small Christian majority in North Sumatra and Bali is a Hindu island whose signature dish is a roast pig.

Swine fever cannot be transmitted to humans, but it is almost 100 percent fatal in pigs and has devastated swine herds in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Unlike China, where huge herds are reared and processed in factory-like conditions and outbreaks can be contained, in Indonesia most pigs are raised in backyard sties or on small farms, and sold at markets where the virus can easily spread.

Outbreaks of African swine fever have also been recorded in Myanmar, Laos, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and East Timor.

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